A friend shared this image on her newsfeed and posted her approval:
I had an immediate negative reaction to this mostly because I was thinking about those folks I know who have gone traveling and incurred great debt. It seemed this message was promoting the idea that when you’re young you should take debt defying risks because you have your whole life to work.
The ability to travel is not one of my burning ambitions. I love meeting people from different parts of the world but when I think of traveling I crave picturesque villages or the rolling ocean. Not really things I’m willing to sacrifice to achieve in the near future or are impossible to enjoy when I’m older. What if the thought of hiking up mountain sides to view beautiful waterfalls filled me with joy and anticipation rather than dread? Would I feel differently about the post?
With this in mind I began looking at my view vs. a kinder view of this advice.
Travel while you’re young and able: My problem with this is that there’s this belief that if you’re married, have kids, are over 40, etc. you can’t do fun things. I call BS on that! However, instead of being a negative Nelly what if I read this as your body is working right now so it’s as good a time as ever!
Don’t worry about the money, just make it work: Grr. I’m often told that I’m young and I’ve got my whole life to make money. True but I want to make money not hand over gobs of it for a vacation I had 2 years ago. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt: don’t stress about how much people tell you travelling will cost. Find a frugal alternative, tighten up in other areas of your life to pursue your passion.
Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be: Goodness I do feel like a capitalist! Yes experience is important but don’t sacrifice your financial stability for it. At the end of my life I want to break even. I don’t want to leave anyone with debt, in fact I’d like to leave a bit behind to charities, but I also don’t want to leave too much cash behind because it might mean that I’ve hoarded it rather than spending on things that were important to me.
I suppose I’m feeling a bit sensitive as messages like this one forward the idea that we should be a bit reckless when we’re young and let future us take care of the mess. I don’t know about you but future me wants to be debt free, I’m also hoping that future me remembers that age is just the number of years I’m celebrating on the planet it’s not something that dictates how much joy and excitement I’m allowed to feel.